Google’s New API Policy: Aims to Provide Enterprise Stability
With a recent announcement Google has committed to ensure a very high level of reliability and stability with its enterprise application programming interfaces with a new set of Enterprise APIs. ‘Google Enterprise API’ is actually a new designation. The company thinks that this new designation is required specifically for enterprise customers. These will be available across platforms such as Google workspace, Google Cloud, and Google Maps. A few tenets will govern these new APIs so that very little disruption is faced by an enterprise customer due to changes. Google mentions that these enterprise APIs are to be governed by a stricter set of preconditions and prerequisites about when and how Google may bring about changes in them. So that enterprise customers and users who bank on Google services, do not lose trust on the online services giant. Since, from now on changes will in no way hamper the activities of these customers and they will not need to resort to a lot of extra work due to unannounced and unforeseen changes.
APIs are functions with the help of which applications are able to access data and communicate effortlessly with external operating systems, microservices and software components, the constituents of present-day applications.
The revised policy is based on the founding principle that an API feature under no circumstances may be changed or removed in a manner that it becomes “backwards incompatible” as long as the concerned customers keep using the API. The exception is a situation where the API feature causes critical legal, security and intellectual property issues.
According to Google, customers will have at least one year’s notice about any change in the offing. Also, the feature will be active without any issue during this period. The company will provide customers access to documents, tools and other paraphernalia where available, to shift to other versions with similar capabilities and functionalities.
Google has steered and navigated the new policy with its engineering division for many months. The company is promising that any change introduced to one of its enterprise APIs would be reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads followed by a rigid and precise product lifecycle evaluation. So that, changes to the APIs are only made when a consensus is reached about the important reasons for doing them.
Finally, the tenets
The Vice President of Google Cloud and Technical Infrastructure, Kripa Krishnan wrote about the rollout in a blog post, “Today, we’re taking it one step further by introducing designated Google Enterprise APIs,” She said that at a high level, the tenets could be summarized as seen below.
The burden is on us: Our working principle is that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backwards compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it. If a deprecation or breaking change is inevitable, then the burden is on us to make the migration as effortless as possible. The only exception to this rule is if there are critical security, legal, or intellectual property issues caused by the feature.
Support the customer: Customers will receive a minimum of one year’s notice of an impending change, during which time the feature will continue to operate without issue. Customers will have access to tools, docs, and other materials to migrate to newer versions with equivalent functionality and performance. We will also work with customers to help them reduce their usage to as close to zero as possible.
Ensure strong governance: To make sure we follow these tenets, any change we introduce to an API is reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads and follows a rigorous product lifecycle evaluation.